The COVID-19 crisis has affected many aspects of our day-to-day lives, marketing included. Even if your business has been lucky enough not to feel the direct effects of COVID-19, you’re more than likely re-evaluating your overall marketing strategy and messaging. Digital marketing is more important than ever in our new “online-only” world. Digital marketing gives you the power to adjust your messaging quickly and efficiently. Things are changing on a dime — state by state and county by county. Shifting your marketing to digital will give you the ability to keep your marketing up to date while maximizing your budget. Additionally, digital marketing can keep you connected to your audience. Although these times have been tough, there are huge opportunities to reach your target audience online. In fact, social media platform’s active users grew by one million from February to March. The brands that can stand out from the noise and truly connect with their audience will come out on top. As digital marketing experts, we have five tips to help improve your marketing strategy during a crisis.
Retain Organic Visibility With SEO
Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a great way to stay top of mind for your customers. If you are one of the businesses that have been forced to decrease advertising budgets, now is a great time to allot additional time towards SEO. Google is constantly working on tweaking their algorithms to ensure searches provide the most accurate information. Don’t risk reducing your organic visibility by ignoring the basics of SEO.
As people spend more time at home we can expect to see an increase in searches. We are already seeing a 15% increase in search volume on searches conducted after midnight. Here are a few tips on how to ensure your SEO is up to speed:
- Perform an in-depth SEO audit to prioritize your task list.
- Test that your website is optimized for mobile.
- Speed is key! Run your website through Google’s Page Speed Tool, which will give you insight on whether image sizes or browser caching is slowing down your site.
- Double-check your website links. Internal and external links continue to have a significant influence on how your website ranks.
Actively Manage Your Ad Campaigns
You may have the urge to pause any digital advertising. We’re here to tell you this could be damaging and costly to your overall marketing strategy. Pausing your ad campaigns only to restart them later down the road will mean a higher cost-per-click as your campaign will be placed back in the initial learning phase. Another piece of advice is not to leave your campaigns on cruise control. Whether you’re running a Social Media Ad Campaign or a Google Ad Campaign, stay on top of performance and make adjustments as needed. We know every dollar counts, here are a few pointers to help stretch your budget:
- For Google Ads, take a look at any non-essential upper-funnel keywords with lower conversion rates and cut them out.
- Take a look at the most expensive keywords on Google by industry, get creative with different ways to phrase these. You’ll still be able to rank, but at a lesser cost.
- For social media ad campaigns, be authentic in your messaging and update copy as things change. You don’t want to come off as tone-deaf because you failed to edit as needed.
- Use your social media ad campaigns to help grow your email marketing list. This multimedia approach will help to keep your brand and offers in front of consumers most interested in staying in touch with your brand.
Start with an audit of your social media strategy. What content is currently scheduled, and what opportunities are available? When performing your review, first decide what content should be paused or moved to another month. Be sure to stay sensitive to the current times. Analyze your promotional content, carefully looking for anything that could be read as insensitive or tone-deaf. Repurpose any content that needs minor tweaks to be relevant, so you don’t have to start from scratch. Focus on content that humanizes your brand and helps to build a sense of community. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a trend of consumers leaning towards brands that show their humanity. During this time of uncertainty, consumers will be looking for that sense of empathy. As a final tip, we recommend avoiding any imagery that showcases large gatherings of people. Using photos with several people gathered together could come off as if your business is not adhering to the Shelter in Place. If you are using these images as a throwback, be sure to reference this in your caption.
Listen and Engage
As mentioned above, consumers are feeling isolated and seeking connection. Use this time to have your social media be a conversion board rather than a soapbox. Actively engage and listen to your community. First, look at your followers who are commenting and messaging your brand. Respond to these active users in a meaningful way that drives connection. A thumbs-up, or emoji response might have been good enough in the past, but now you need to step up your engagement game and get involved in the conversation. Second, if your consumers are posting your product or service, be sure to reshare their content. User-Generated Content (UGC) is a great way to let your consumers know you appreciate them sharing. Check photos you’ve been tagged in and any hashtags that may be relevant to your business. Lastly, be proactive! Use your explore page on Instagram to interact with potential customers. Comment, like, and follow people who fall into your target demographic as a way to put your company on their radar.
Emerge Ready to do Business
We know and understand that things are uncertain. You spent time last year budgeting, but that budget has changed, it may have even flipped on its back over the last couple of months. We advise not pausing your entire marketing strategy; don’t lose your lifeline to your customers. One day the world will be back to normal, and you’ll need to communicate re-opening your doors to your audience. Communicating with an engaged audience will be more beneficial to your business, then starting from square one. Continue to add value by providing information, offers, and conveying to your audience that you are listening to their needs. This will help you stay top of mind while offering them a way to shop your product or service.
If you are looking for guidance on how to strategically shift your marketing efforts to digital, or simply want to talk through some ideas, schedule a complimentary consultation with our team of experts!